Psalm 39: Shortness of Life

How can the filthy speech of the wicked influence the righteous?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Psalm 39:1 To Jeduthun, minister of music, a song of David.
I said, “I will guard my behavior and bridle my mouth so the evil speech among wicked people will never come by my tongue.”
King James
Psalm 39:1 <To the chief Musician, even to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David.> I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.

How do we know when we should be silent and when we should speak up?

Author’s Thoughts
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Psalm 39:2–3 I was completely silent, saying nothing, not even mentioning something good, but that didn’t make me feel better. As I thought about it, the fire within me caused my blood to boil, so I had to say something.
King James
Psalm 39:2–3 I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred. My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue,

Would we benefit from knowing exactly how long our life on Earth will be? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Psalm 39:4 Lord, show me how many days I have left, and then I’ll know how temporary my life on Earth really is.
King James
Psalm 39:4 Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.

If we don’t know how long we will live, what is the value of meditation?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Psalm 39:5 Whatever the number is, the span of days is as narrow as the width of my hand, which is nothing compared to your days. Those who have lived the longest are still nothing more than a breath. Pause to meditate on that.
King James
Psalm 39:5 Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.

How important is hard work?

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Psalm 39:6–7 People’s lives are a fading shadow. While working so hard to increase their wealth, people have no idea whose it will be when they are gone.
Lord, what do I have to look forward to? My hope for eternity rests with you.
King James
Psalm 39:6–7 Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them. And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.

If doing wrong is our choice, what is accomplished by praying?

Author’s Thoughts
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Psalm 39:8 Save me from anything I might do wrong. Help me avoid the approach of playing the fool.
King James
Psalm 39:8 Deliver me from all my transgressions: make me not the reproach of the foolish.

Are willful sins any different from unintended wrongs?

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Psalm 39:8 Save me from anything I might do wrong. Help me avoid the approach of playing the fool.
1 John 5:16–17 If you see people sinning out of ignorance, lead them to Christ so they may know life and not death. Some wrongdoing is rebellion against God, with full knowledge of the truth. For them, what good is it to even pray? All wrongdoing is sin, and there is a sin that does not lead to death.
King James
Psalm 39:8 Deliver me from all my transgressions: make me not the reproach of the foolish.
1 John 5:16–17 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

When is it good to keep quiet? When is it good to speak up?

Author’s Thoughts
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Psalm 39:9 I held my peace, saying nothing, because I recognized your hand at work.
King James
Psalm 39:9 I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it.

If God chastens those whom he loves, why would we not want to accept his judgments?

Author’s Thoughts
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Psalm 39:10–11 Would you restrain your hand, because I am tired of all the spankings. When you rebuke and punish people, what they thought was so beautiful fades in value as they see your importance and realize how short their lives are. Pause to think about that.
King James
Psalm 39:10–11 Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thine hand. When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity. Selah.

What are the best prayers we can ask of the Lord?

Author’s Thoughts
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Psalm 39:12–13 Hear my prayer, Lord. Don’t ignore my tears, but listen to my cry for help. I’m just passing through, a stranger on Earth just as my ancestors were.
Look my way so I may gain strength before I am dead and gone.
King James
Psalm 39:12–13 Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were. O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.